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Sibling lost, sibling found

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‘Where the actual fuck are we?’ Diluc huffed as he crossed his arms and looked around.

One moment he’d been peacefully writing documents in his office at Dawn Winery, the next he found himself standing in what looked like a deserted wasteland. The only noticeable things were the Inazuman Toori gates surrounding said wasteland, and the blood-red skies behind them.

Oh, right. And then there Kaeya standing next to him, looking equally confused.    

‘Beats me.’ the other man said with a shrug. ‘Looks like some sort of creepy version of Inazuma.’

‘And you’re certain you have nothing to do with this?’ Diluc asked him sceptically. It wouldn’t be the first time the other had dragged him into some kind of trouble, and he doubted this would be the last time.

‘How cruel of you to assume any inconvenience in your life is by default somehow my doing.’ Kaeya shot back, at which Diluc rolled his eyes.

‘That’s because most of the time it is.’

Kaeya looked like he wanted to say something, though the words died in his mouth when a purple-haired woman approached them. She had seemingly come out of nowhere, striding towards them with graceful steps.

‘I see there is a lot of work to be done.’ she hummed, coming to a halt in front of them.

‘And who might you be?’ Diluc spat, reaching for his blade only to find it was no longer at his side.

‘I am the Raiden Shogun, archon of Inazuma.’ the woman spoke. ‘You are currently in what I call my Plane of Euthymia, a place created to preserve eternity. Right now, however, it is a place intended for reconciliation instead. It is where you will remain until you decide to talk things out. As you may have noticed, your weapons are no longer in your possession. I found it too dangerous given your past.’

‘I beg your pardon?’ Diluc spat, stepping forward threateningly.

The Shogun raised an eyebrow, not seeming all that impressed. ‘Apologies, did you not hear me?’

‘Loud and clear.’ Kaeya huffed, putting a hand on his hip. ‘Explain to me though, what on earth do we have to do with the archon of Inazuma? For as far as I’m aware, all you need to care about are your own subjects, not those under the protection of another archon.’

‘That is correct.’ the Shogun stated. ‘We happen to have a mutual acquaintance, however. The traveller has told me about their travels around the nations, and by extension, mentioned you.’

‘How flattering.’ Kaeya hummed. ‘Heard some good gossip then, did you?’

How typical of him to not be intimidated by an archon whatsoever, Diluc noted.

‘I heard enough.’ the Shogun mused. ‘Two brothers, too taken by both pride and grief to truly try and understand one another…it truly is tragic.’

‘That has nothing to do with you.’ Diluc said, getting more annoyed by the second.

‘Regardless, I’ve taken it upon myself to help you out.’ the woman continued, ignoring him completely. ‘You will remain here until you make up. You may try to escape, but you will find it is impossible. Don’t even try to harm each other, or lie to get out of here, or you will suffer the consequences.’

‘You can’t just trap us here!’ Diluc exclaimed. ‘We have responsibilities in the outside world to take care of!’

‘Then you better start talking, no?’ the Shogun asked seriously, before turning around. ‘The sooner you get this over with, the sooner you can go back to your everyday lives. That, I promise you.’

And just like that, she was gone.

Diluc tried to chase after her, but it was no use. It was as if she had gone up into smoke, merely a fragment of their imagination.

Behind him, Kaeya sighed, moving to sit down in relaxation as if some unreasonable god had not just kidnapped and imprisoned them.

‘Well then.’ the other hummed, looking somewhat amused. ‘Guess we better start talking, hm?’

 


 

‘Please, make them stop.’ Ei brought out with a groan, letting her head fall against the desk she was sitting behind. The wood did nothing to soften the impact whatsoever, but anything was better than the thumping in her head caused by the two idiot brothers she had insisted on allowing into her Plane of Euthymia. When she had trapped them there, she hadn’t known they were such absolute menaces.

‘I told you this would happen.’ Miko hummed amusedly, placing a glass of water next to her, as well as some painkillers. ‘Letting other people into your mind is hardly ever a good idea.’

‘How can two siblings be so…?’

‘Stupid?’ Miko helpfully suggested. ‘Stubborn? Frustrating? Ignorant?’

‘All of the above.’ Ei huffed, gratefully picking up the painkillers the other woman had supplied her with, before swallowing them.

‘Not everyone has as a good a relationship with their sibling as you had, you know.’ Miko spoke softly, coming to sit down next to her friend. Ei could feel her place a gentle hand on her shoulder, which she allowed to remain there.

‘I truly do not understand how two people who are so alike can be so bitter towards each other.’ she huffed, glancing at the fox envoy. ‘Surely after such traumatic events, one would seek comfort in the company of someone close to them?’

It was quiet for a moment, the only sound being that of Miko stifling a laugh.

‘What’s so funny?’

‘Ei, dear…repeat what you just said.’

‘After such traumatic events, one would seek comfort in-…oh.’

‘Get it now?’

Ei looked away with a small flush on her cheeks. ‘That is a completely different situation.’

‘Of course it is.’ Miko agreed, though Ei didn’t think she truly meant it. Still, the other woman had a point. She hadn’t dealt with her grief well, and was still dealing with the consequences of that to this day.

Perhaps that was exactly the reason she’d felt so strongly for those two brothers torn apart by the grief she knew all too well.

Except in their case, it was not yet too late to make amends. It may have been impossible to bring their father back, but their sibling bond was still salvageable.

Ei hoped it was, at least.

She’d practically interrogated the traveller about the two men after they’d mentioned them casually in a conversation, and as a result, had grown somewhat attached to the idea that she could help them out.

If she could just make them see they had something she herself would give up Eternity for to regain, surely they’d understand?

‘Don’t beat yourself up over it if it doesn’t work out the way you’d planned.’ Miko said softly, snapping her from her thoughts. ‘Your will alone may not be enough to break through the walls of two people so guarded. This isn’t just any regular duel, this is human emotion we’re talking about. Fragile like glass, and much more breakable.’

‘It will work.’ Ei replied firmly, almost determined enough to make her believe it herself.

Miko sighed, and leaned onto the desk as well.

‘I suppose there’s only one way to find out.’

 


 

Surely enough, Ei’s headache ceased after two more weeks of suffering.

Her mind became so quiet in fact, that, had it not been for the precautionary limitations she’d placed on her Plane of Euthymia, she might have thought the two men to be dead.

When she stepped into the familiar territory of her mind, she was met with the two brothers sitting next to each other, the one she recalled as Diluc leaning against one of the Toori gates, while the one named Kaeya rested his head on the other’s shoulder.

Inside of the Plane of Euthymia, neither eating nor sleeping was required, yet the both of them looked positively exhausted. They were barely awake, from what Ei could tell. Not only that; she could swear their eyes looked a bit glazed over, as if genuine tears had been shed.

‘Can we go home now?’ Kaeya murmured when she knelt down in front of them. ‘Please?’

Instead of answering, she looked at the two men intently, wishing to observe them for a little while longer before casting her judgement.

The hostile attitude they’d shown towards each other before had dropped significantly, and while there was still some tension to be found, Ei didn’t get the impression their time here had been for naught.

Of course there were things that could not be solved in the span of two weeks, or by conversation alone. She didn’t doubt the two of them would fall back into their old habits now and then, taunting each other mercilessly.

Still, in front of her was no longer a pair of men estranged so badly they were past the point of reconciling. Instead, she found two siblings who had grown apart, but were willing to get to know the person the other had grown into.

‘Very well.’ she spoke, standing up once more. ‘I will allow you to leave this place now.’

The both of them nodded gratefully, though Ei couldn’t stop herself from giving them one last warning look.

‘Though, should it ever prove necessary, I won’t hesitate to bring you back here.’

‘That won’t be necessary!’ the two of them brought out almost simultaneously.

‘Really, it’s-…we’ll behave.’ Diluc huffed. ‘I promise.’

Ei couldn’t stop a small grin from slipping onto her face, though she turned around before either of them could see it.

‘In that case, I bid you farewell.’ she said, snapping her fingers.

And just like that, the two men were gone, leaving Ei alone in her Plane of Euthymia once more.

With a soft sigh, she looked up at the fabricated space around her, taking in its emptiness.

The pain of losing her own sister would never truly go away, but perhaps by preventing others from suffering the same fate, she could find some peace of mind after all.

She had vowed never to force eternity upon her people ever again, but that didn’t mean she couldn’t help them in her own way.

Eternity or not, she would try her best to aid those who needed her.

It was Miko’s voice that snapped her from her thoughts then, echoing from the distance.

A clear sign it was time to leave her Plane of Euthymia once more, comforting as it may be.

Ei too, would benefit from spending time with someone she trusted.